Archive for June, 2010

Lemonade from Lemons

Last night I had an accident. I was playing basketball with Nathan. I was barefoot. I lost control of the ball, and it rolled out in the street. I chased the ball and caught up with it. I thought I would simply stop the ball with my foot and kick it back to Nathan who was standing in the driveway. Hindsight is definitely 20/20, and this was NOT a very smart move.

When I tried to kick the ball, I tripped and fell face-first into the street. Fortunately for me, I was able to catch myself with my hands and my knee. I busted my knee open, and my hands are scratched up quite a bit. I then proceeded to roll (felt more like a bounce) onto my side. I have got quite a few bruises, cuts and scrapes, and my ENTIRE body aches.

That’s the lemon. Can you see the lemonade?

Think about where I was a year ago. I would not have been able to play basketball with my son, let alone CHASE a ball into the street. And if I had fallen with all that extra weight, I probably would have seriously hurt myself. Fortunately, I’m just sore and a little embarrassed.

As I was falling, all I could think about was “Oh, no! Please don’t let me tear my new jeans!!!” I’m falling (flipping) across the middle of the street at 9:30 in the evening. I’m wearing a $300 pair of glasses and have a relatively new Blackberry in my pocket – not cheap stuff to replace. And I’m thinking about my new pair of jeans – ones that only cost $4. FOUR DOLLARS!!!

Sounds crazy, I know. The jeans hold a tremendous amount of sentimental value. That pair of 4-day-old jeans represents an unexpected success, a surprise in the “goals achieved” department.

My mom was visiting this week, and (of course) we went shopping. This woman could smell a good buy from the department store parking lot! She picks up this really cute pair of jeans (cost $4) and suggests (tells) me to go try them on. The problem is that they are a size smaller than I was currently wearing. She then went on to pick up TWO MORE pair of pants of the same size! Her thought was if they were just a bit small that I would eventually be able to wear them. And for only a $4 risk, why not make the purchase?

Now for the moment of truth… I pull the jeans up over my knees and then up over my thighs – the point at which I would know the pants were two small. But I was able to continue pulling the pants up. Over the hips and up to the waist. WAIT! I can still breathe! These pants FIT!!!!

Thinking it was a fluke, I quickly tried on the other two pants. They, too, FIT! Yay me! There are not words to express my jubilation. An unexpected success. An incredible feeling of pride and joy! I’m winning!

So, back to the middle of the street, my bloody knee, and the trophy jeans that should have been shredded. Time stopped as I glanced at my knee to see just how badly my pants tore. They withstood the fall! It was at that point that I realized just how lucky I was. Not only did my jeans hold up, but my healthier body held up as well.

Not only am I getting smaller; I’m growing stronger.

Starting to Walk

It has been suggested that I go back and revisit the whole exercise discussion. In the last post, I talked about how much I am enjoying exercise, how far I have come, and how much I have achieved. I guess I skipped the part about how I got to this point.

I added exercise to my routine back in September. May I confess just how much I HATED exercise. Hated it! Fortunately for me, I had an exercise buddy who would encourage me every single step of the day. There were many, many, many days where I didn’t want to expend ANY energy. But Tracy pushed, and neither of us gave up.

We started out by walking around the parking lot at work. We took a “smoke break”. When all the smokers were sucking on their cancer sticks, we walked. One time around the lot turned into two times. Two times turned into walking to the front of the office park. Then, we circled the shopping center that is in front of the office park. On and on, until we got to the point that we were walking 2.5 miles every day.

To step it up, we walked faster. Tracy would jog ahead and walk back to me so we could walk together a little further. I even tried jogging. Walk, run, walk, run… Heartbeat goes up and comes back down. Running would elevate the heartbeat; walking would bring it down. The intervals are good for me as I develop stamina and strength.

I’ve read many articles that suggest tips to help get you moving. Start out by walking out to your mailbox instead of grabbing the mail from your car on your way up your driveway. Park at the far end of the WalMart parking lot and walk into the store. One that I thought was creative (and keeps you from getting all sweaty) is to walk up and down the grocery store aisles BEFORE you start your grocery shopping. Or, how about waiting until you have finished shopping and walk the aisles with a FULL grocery cart. Strength AND cardio – good for you!! Lastly, might I suggest that you set your timer for five minutes? Start walking away from your house until the timer goes off, then return home. You’ve just walked for ten minutes.

You’ve got to starting seeing yourself as an active person. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen overnight. Do a little bit today, and tomorrow a little bit more. Keep it up. Don’t quit. You will start to develop some endurance. And then you will start feeling good about yourself.

I can promise this – consistent exercise pays off.

Get out and MOVE

I NEVER thought I would say this, but I LOVE working out! Don’t let me fool you, this attitude didn’t come overnight. But it’s really simple – notice I didn’t say easy – but simple. The trick is to just start moving.

Everybody has an opinion on an ideal exercise program. Do you do it with walking? Do you hire a trainer? Lift weights? Swimming? Bike ride? Classes? What?

I am by no means an expert, but I think the trick is just to do something. When I started exercising, it was nothing more than walking around the parking lot at work during lunch. The first time around, we walked two circles. I thought I was going to die!

I learned that I don’t like walking in circles over and over – because I never know where the end is. To compensate, I adjusted my walking path so that I was actually going somewhere. What started as a quick, grueling, ten-minute walk evolved to a daily walk of 2.5 miles – during lunch.

Once spring came, I needed to step it up. If you remember, I needed to push through a plateau. I joined 24-Hour Fitness. Now, I’m doing weights three times a week and cardio three times a week. I’m learning to use the elliptical – which can kill you! I have started jogging on the treadmill. And I have been riding hard on a recumbent bike.

And just like I didn’t have to walk in the same circle over and over, I don’t have to do the same aerobic exercise day after day for a solid 45 minutes. I can do 15 minutes on one machine, 15 minutes on another, and another 15 minutes on a third machine. I like variety, so I create it in my exercise routines.

Besides the incredibly good feeling I get after exercise, one of the things I am most excited about is – I’ve started SWEATING!!

Sounds yucky, but it’s really not. If you look around the gym, you notice that the people who are fit and working hard are ALL sweating. And now I’m doing it too! Way cool!! Someday someone is going to look at me and wish they could be strong like me.

So my words of wisdom are simply to get moving. Any movement is movement in the right direction.

Focus 24/7 – Not me

I’ve got to find a way to integrate the activity of the weekday to relaxing during the weekend. And while I’m at it, a way to pay the same attention and dedication to what I eat during the day to what I put in mouth at night.

I work outside of my home during the day. What I eat is very structured. I am snacking very little; and when I do, my choices are deliberate, healthy, and follow my good health guidelines. During my lunch hour, some days I go to the gym and do 45 minutes of weight training or cardio – four days a week. The fifth day, I attend my WW meetings. Yay me, right?

When I get home, I feel like I implode. I throw together something (usually unplanned) for my family; or I pick up something on the way home. My meal is simple – a chicken breast, steamed broccoli, and a baked sweet potato. It’s a good meal – tasty and good for me. But what am I teaching my kids? And what am I sending?

After dinner, I want to sit on the couch and read or watch TV – not such healthy habits. I do want to give myself at least SOME credit. I do usually find the energy to go outside and play some sort of ball with Nathan. I’ve become quite satisfactory at throwing a football, shooting a basketball, and hitting a baseball.

But on weekends….

I could eat the table on which I serve my food. I want anything and everything in my path. I don’t always follow through with those urges, but it is a constant battle for 48 hours. Fortunately, WW gives you extra “blow it” points each week. If I use mine, it is on Saturday or Sunday.

Activity? I would be perfectly content to sleep and read. I don’t usually, but it seems like a battle to get myself up and get moving.

I’m supposed to be turning things around in my life, finding myself in a new, healthier lifestyle. It seems like the further I get down the path, the more things I identify that need improvement.

I’m glad that I don’t have to be perfect every day. I’m grateful that the goal of every day is to make it better than the one before. And I’m satisfied with the progress I’m making – taking it one day at a time.

Pictures with my kids

Last night, Nathan and I were flipping through a bunch of old pictures – the ones where he and Hannah were babies. We had a lot of laughs from the stories I would tell and from the silly things I caught them doing while they were little.

One thing was missing – pictures of me with my kids. I was there, and I’m sure there were people around that would have taken pictures of me WITH my children, but I always made sure to be the one holding the camera. And, if by some rare chance, someone caught me in a photo, I very clever to pull one of the kids in front of me so that most of me could remain hidden.

Sad, isn’t it? That I am missing from the photo memories of my children’s early lives. How much more of life have I hidden from?

So, then I started looking at some other pictures – ones where I was included. Most of these were pre-kids. As I walked down memory lane, I didn’t remember a single time when I had a positive body image. I don’t remember exactly what was wrong, what part I didn’t like, but I know I wasn’t happy with the way I looked.

So, that’s got me to thinking – when will I start feeling positive about my body image? What will it take for me to feel good about myself? What exactly is it that I am hoping to achieve?

I don’t have the answers yet. But I do know that I am committed to finding out. I think that’s why this blog is so important for me. I can’t write lies. On paper, I have to be honest with myself – painful or not.

Being Judged

Someone asked me today why I’m not in sales. I can tell our company’s story like it was my own. I test the sales team to make sure they are telling it correctly. But I have ABSOLUTELY NO DESIRE to sell our product/service. Why? I don’t like selling. As a matter of fact, it makes me terribly uncomfortable.

However, after further introspection, I realized the reason I have been so uncomfortable. I was FAT, obese, ugly, yukky! I felt like people looked at me and ONLY saw a fat woman who was lazy and should not be taken seriously. How sad.

Now when you read that, I’m sure your first thought was – “No. I wouldn’t have thought that.” But seriously, you know – way down deep in your heart of hearts – that you would. You would jump to conclusions based on someone’s being overweight. I did, and I still do. I don’t like that about myself, and I’m working to get around it, but I have had those thoughts.

Now, maybe (just maybe) I’m imposing feelings on myself that other people aren’t having, but I doubt it. And knowing that people felt that way, made me feel even worse about myself.

Now let me tell you, I know now (and knew then) that I am smart, caring, giving, talented, hard-working, etc. (And yes, mom, I have great hair…..inside joke). But I knew those things in my head. My heart kept reminding me of all the things I wasn’t, and those things were reflected by my obesity.

I’m glad to be relearning things about myself, but isn’t it sad that my confidence was lost somewhere amongst all that fat?

Anyway, enough honesty. I’m growing stronger and I am getting smaller. I am recording some new tapes in my head. AND, I’m starting to like myself again.

Admitting a Fear

So, yesterday, I talked about how hard it was starting out attending Weight Watchers meeting. After a few meetings, I started relaxing and finding success at my meetings. But there was one meeting when it got really, REALLY HARD!

I had gained weight that week. I knew the things that I had done incorrectly during the week. My leader, Judy, put me on the spot. She pushed me, forcing me to talk (out LOUD and to the group!!!) and admit what had happened and how I was feeling. Can you IMAGINE?

I had to admit that I was beating myself up for some bad decisions. I was letting those bad decisions determine my worth. And I wanted to call it QUITS!

While admitting my fear and my failure was scary, it turned out to be very empowering. I realized that it was one week of my life. The new week meant a chance to start over.

And sometimes, the new day means starting over. Shoot, a new hour, or even a new minute, can provide an opportunity to start over.

When I have made a bad decision, the trick is to put it behind me and not let it define me. It is a daily decision to continue moving forward.

I am NOT going to quit!

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